Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Would You Live In A Town Where Wireless Signals Were Illegal?

Did you know that there is a place in the United States where wireless signals are actually illegal? In Green Bank, West Virginia, with a population of 143, wireless signals are illegal. There is no WiFi, radio, Bluetooth, electronic transmitters, and even electric blankets are banned. First responders are even limited to using short-distance CB radios. Why is this though?

Lucas Reilly of Mental Floss explained that, “The remote town is smack in the center of the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000 square mile stretch of land designated by the Federal Communications Commission to protect two government radio telescopes from man-made interference. The rules, though, are most strict in Green Bank’s neck of the woods. So strict, actually, that a policeman roves the streets listening for verboten wireless signals.”

This small town is home to the largest steerable radio telescope in the world, the Green Bank Telescope. The National Radio AstronomyObservatory said that this town “operates the world premiere astronomical telescope operating from centimeter to millimeter wavelengths.”

Scientists are able to use this telescope to listen to radio energy that has traveled light years, which tells them a lot about how the stars and galaxies are formed. Any kind of radio signals could interfere with these scientific discoveries.  

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